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Twelfth Night

Q: As an actor, which character are you most drawn towards playing?
A: Feste the Jester.
Feste was the character which stood out to me; from Ben Kingsley’s
portrayal he seemed to know everything that was going on without giving
anything away. His character is both mysterious and ironically clever,
something you would not expect from a fool. His presence not only fills the
stage with comedy, but with songs which would suit my more musical
character. The character often plays in and out of the play such as Ben
Kingsley’s version where he was also the narrator for the beginning of the
As an actor, I feel he would not only suit me, but challenge me to try and
understand the character from a deeper level. As a character that is also
underestimated by the others, I would want to portray him similar to that
of Ben Kingsley by making him one of the most powerful characters
without the others knowing.
As a fool, the idea many audiences would expect was a happy, supporting
character with little understanding and knowledge of the plot. However,
from Shakespeare’s idea he sees Feste as a dark character with more value
and understanding than all the others combined. Through his melancholy
songs his character was never intended to be happy, but sad. His character,
although a servant to Lady Olivia, moves about much more freely than
Malvolio or Maria creating a more mischievous character than first thought.

Q: How would you approach the development rehearsal and performance
of this character? What problems or difficulties do you foresee and how
would you resolve them?
A: Similarly to Ben Kingsley’s performance, I would take Feste through his
serious and mysterious persona. The character becomes a powerful
presence on stage even in his position in the play. However there were
some parts such as when Feste teases Malvolio when locked up which did
not suit the character. In terms of appearance, I would want to take the idea
of the jester as a literal image and dress as a jester with bright colours. This
gives a jolly look to Feste while presenting the irony of his mannerism. I
would also want to give Feste a lively character when singing to give a
variation of performance to the film we watched.
The biggest difficulty I foresee with this character as well as any character
is keeping the rhythm and pace of my lines. As I have never properly done
Shakespeare so I will have to try hard to work on the iambic pentameter. I
also tend to rush in my lines which will make my speech lose clarity. To
resolve this I would need to practice on some extracts from Shakespearean
plays with the iambic pentameter and taking time with my speeches. I will
also try to make sure that words are being articulated properly and try to
understand as much of the text, to have an idea of the character’s behaviour
and how that affects the voice.